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Usually I sleep great, (& nothing has changed about my routine), so it freaked me out when I started ⏰ waking up so damn early. It only happens a couple times a week now, but I'm hoping it won't increase to every day! It started when I turned 60, if I recall. My neighbors are 72 & 82 years old, & they said it happens like that every day, for them. I'm against Ambien type sleep aids cause of some weird stories I've heard. Thanks, hope you guys have some tips.

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It's tough and rather unpredictable to awaken at 2:45, 3:45, etc, One thing that mostly works for me (at 65) is to redo the bedtime routine: use the privy, stretch and yawn, read for maybe 20 minutes on my Kindle, and pay attention to the sleepy feelings, rather than charge ahead reading, ha! This strategy usually works.

Other times when the brain wakes up thinking about problems, it's like having a bucket of cold water dumped over the head. I'm awake and there's no way out but through, after about 90 minutes when the sleep cycle says "sleepy" once more.

I used to take Melatonin but after reading "lasts 4 hours" I found that, sure enough, I'd awaken 4 hours later, to the dot. That's probably the ability that the brain has to take "suggestions" about when to wake up. I don't take anything now. I hope anything here gives a clue to getting a peaceful night. :)
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When i wake up and think i wont go back to sleep i eat a packet of austin peanut butter cheese crackers/read a little ... in bed/go back to sleep. Takes about 20-30 mins. Placebo ??? I dont care. Works for me :)
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😋 yum, I love those! (True that we can wake up due to hunger). Thanks.
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For anyone who hasn't tried it, I'd like to recommend melatonin cream to rub on the carotid arteries of the neck leading to the brain when you wake up at early morning hours. It really helps me get back to sleep. I don't have any trouble falling asleep around 10:30-11:00 pm. But if I wake up in early A. M. have a lot of problem going back to sleep unless I apply melatonin cream.
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I never heard of that but will have to get some! Thanks.
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Same thing for my 93 year old Dad...I give him melatonin 10 to 15 mg. Start with 5mg and if he still wakes up give him more the next night to adjust the time when he wakes up more on your time. Really Really Helps being the only family caregiver that lives with him and I am 60 as well.
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✌thanks, I tried the melatonin.
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Tiger. Glad to see your note. I have the same situation. I am retired military. Thought I was back in the old days. I see we are not alone in the hours we now keep. It goes with the challenge/opportunity to help our loved one! That's okay. Thanks for your note.
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☺🙋
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When you awaken do not do anything to stimulate the brain because you won't get back to sleep - if you feel you need to get up & want to read then make it non-stimulating - read the instruction book from an appliance [the printer, fridge, coffee maker] or a book you have already read as you won't be trying to find out 'who dun it'

Waking during the night is normal in the human species - they used to call it the first & second sleep - in days of old that was when the fire was fed to be ready for morning, when kids were taken out to pee and other chores then back to sleep again - it was thought at one time that was when babies should be conceived

If you can get back to sleep immediately then there is no problem but the fact you mention it means that you are not just rolling over but staying awake for a while & that is the issue to be addressed - there are many ways so maybe now is the time to set up a 'back to sleep routine' that you can use when it arises - this should researched as to what is best for you & it might take a few tries
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True, I had a few tricks that were working, but they would fizzle out after a few months. Seems good to try the ideas I've gotten here, they're so interesting.
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Buy a kindle and put some favorite books in it. I’ve awakened around three most nights for many years. It is a wonderful time to enjoy the silence and lose myself in reading I love. It’s sometimes only 20 or 30 minutes. I turn it off get comfortable and go right back to sleep
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Yes, I've never had a kindle, but I'm willing to give it a shot! ☺
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Try melatonin 5mg . It’s a natural remedy to help you sleep 😴
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you guys are👍great. Thank you for sharing such good insights✌
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Since menopause, it's been a weird ride, lol.
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JannSimspon Dec 2018
Another reason to try Magnesium. Menopause depletes our natural stores of magnesium. 👍🏻
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Judging by the number of responses I think there are a lot of people awake in the middle of the night. My one bit of advice is don't get up to go pee when you wake up unless you really, really have to because you will start to need to go at the same time every night.
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Yep, I sometimes get up twice! (Sigh). (Could be due to a medical condition I have though). I have to find a comfortable way to live with my idiosyncrasies.💞🙋
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A very intelligent, Savant really, wrote that she had to stay up at least until midnight to stay asleep until a decent morning hour.

To set one's biological clock, either go to bed one hour earlier, or one hour later; depending on when you want to get up. Finally, keep a routine, it takes awhile of set bedtimes to develop a routine.

Do not distress oneself if the occasional middle of the night wake up occurs.
Keep your set routine.

We have only ourselves to blame if we act like wayward children waking and sleeping whenever we want. The body will respond to that mistreatment.

The only thing caregivers have left, is to blame their mothers.
Yeah, it was the Mom's fault, she fell out of bed. True.
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Thats true☺, but I did read something about "Polyphasic sleep" once. Also, 'sleep chronotherapy' is being used to treat depression. (It's not for everyone, but it's a drug-free option).☺
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If I am traveling across time zones I take Ambien, otherwise time-release melatonin. No trouble at all falling asleep, but since my retirement at age 66, I started waking between 4-5 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. Even with the time release melatonin, I wake up in early morning, but then I get back to sleep within 10-15 minutes. Our biological clocks just don't work the way they did when we were younger!
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Agree, it's something about aging. But maybe I don't exercize enough. I hate exercize, lol, but I'm active & on the move every day.✌
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@tiger55, I'm listening to an audio book titled "Why We Sleep-Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams." (I often doze off, listening to it ;) If you think you are not interested in the whole book, I recommend Chapter 5, changes in sleep across the lifespan. The section on older adults applies to many of us. The myth is that since we olders often sleep less, that we need less sleep. NOT! A sleep specialist can suggest non-drug options suitable for you; even your regular doctor may be able to help.
There are many strategies I use to go to--and fall back--asleep. There are free not-so-famous audio books read by volunteers (LibriVox). Pick topics that are only mildly interesting with completely un-exciting delivery. I'm listening to "A Woman's Journey Round the World." I rarely make it to the end of the chapter awake because of the dull style of writing. (podcast name: LibriVox Audiobooks)
Also, I listen to the free version of a podcast, "Sleep With Me." The narrator chooses a very slightly interesting topic, sprinkles in a smidge of goofy humor and then meanders all over the place, reads from Wikipedia, and other such non-attention getting behavior. 30 minutes is usually enough for me. I might listen to a couple different ones in a more restless night.
Sleep is a powerful healer and protector for mind and body. I hope you keep searching to find what combination of strategies will work for you.
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Wow☺that's great info, thanks. Will look into it.
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Watch tv or listen to radio, or read a book.
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I tried drifting back to sleep with tv on 'mute', (adjusted the screen to lower brightness). This worked pretty good for a while.
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Don't take those all-so-tempting mid-day naps.
Don't 'doze' on the couch while watching TV in the evening.
Be sure to get some kind of exercise daily for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Don't drink or eat after 7pm.
Set your alarm for 7 hours to 7 hours 30 minutes.
Take a OTC magnesium pill 20 minutes before you go to bed.
Open a window for cooler fresher air.
Less activity requires less sleep, a good solid active day allows us to sleep better and longer.

And if all that fails, get up and have a peanut butter sandwich with many other boomers in the country! ;-)
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Lol, good advice☺. I miss working. Will try the magnesium first, thanks.
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I use to have insomnia bad and woke up at 4 am every night. I'm a naturalist so I researched and found out that magnesium helps with anxiety and relaxation, so I started taking Remag Brand Liquid Magnesium in a shot of apple juice every night and 98% of the time Im sleeping like a baby through the night. Also have your Thyroid checked. Sometimes issues with it can cause sleep disturbances. Melatonin is good to try too, but from a reputable health food store. No junk from Walmart. Go the natural route! ;-) Good Luck!
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Really? I didn't know that walmart supplements were junkie. I got mine @ rite aide, but that's also generic. Hmmm. Thanks for the tip.✌
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I do not have any trouble with waking at night (sometimes my hours get jumbled up, as in if I have a tedious/busy day dealing with mom or other nasty issues, I sometimes have trouble staying awake, so nap late afternoon or early evening and then am up until 2 or so, depends on when the nap happened and for how long.) My sleep is like being switched off for the night! I can wake in the same position I fell asleep in! A little noise (cat retching for instance) can wake me up easily, but getting back to sleep or bigger noises are usually no problem - sometimes I will resort to a book, but usually lose my place when I quickly drift off! When I was much younger, in college, noise from the apartment upstairs would interfere with study, so I would fall asleep and then be up in the wee hours when it was quiet to study! The problem with this is that it can become a habit. If this is your body's new routine, it can be hard to break, but it can be done! I certainly had to readjust once out of school.

Tiger55 - you mentioned "I had a fan during the summertime, which was great 'white noise'. " Someone I worked with eons ago got so used to the fan that she used it every night all year round. Perhaps you could try using it even though you don't need a fan so much in winter?

If none of the suggestions made here by others work for you, perhaps a sleep test would be in order. If you live alone, there's no way really to know if you have snoring or breathing issues, so you may have to investigate that. Otherwise, just find ways to relax, focus on something else other than "I can't get to sleep!" and see what works for you! Clearly there are others who share your woes, so you know you are not alone, but you do need to find resolution, whether changing habits or exploring a medical cause.
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Yes, maybe I should use my fan anyway. Its cold here now, but if I point the fan toward the wall, it wont feel like a draft! It's so comforting to hear my fan.🙋☺✌
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It is normal for someone who is older than 50 has trouble staying in sleep. I’m 51 years old, and since I am in my menopause, I sometimes I wake up between 3 and 5 am due my arthritis. I used to sleep all the way through the nights. I also don’t take long naps. I take power napping. My mom used to take melatonin supplements. I don’t know if it helped her because she had sundowners, and she kept getting up at night.

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/aging-affects-sleep#2-5
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Yes, I wish I could do very short naps, but I 'zonk out' & then it's a problem to sleep at 🌙 night. I envy folks who can 'powernap'. Thanks!☺
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I cannot sleep in a room that is not dark, esp if the light comes from a TV.

DH WON'T sleep in a room w/o the TV on.

Guess who won that battle? I sleep downstairs and will as long as he chooses to have that 42" monster in the bedroom. Also, he is VERY deaf and has the TV turned up VERY loud and so the noise comes through the ceiling--OK. let's just say it's beyond annoying and thoughtless. (Too many nights in hotels have set this pattern up for him)

I take melatonin, and sometimes a 25-50 mg of seroquel--but I have to go right to bed. NO TV for me, and if I read, I read books NOT on my Kindle. I still wake up 4-5 times a night and I know that's terrible sleep health---but it's just me.

A LOT of what awakens me is the noise from the TV upstairs--DH will NOT move the TV next door to the den, refuses and it's not worth the arguing. He can sleep anywhere, through anything and thinks I should too.

Earplugs, eyemask, white noise machine-----and all alone.

How did we become our parents????
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OMG that's how I used to sleep when I was married, on the couch half the time, cuz of snoring! Lol.✌
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I feel your pain, I’m 48 and this has been an issue with me for years. I’d love to take “sleeping pills” but I’m afraid of them. I take melatonin around 9:30- 10pm and I also play cds of nature sounds very softly. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
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Yes, I even tried using a 'static' radio setting to make white noise, but it got annoying. Also, it's hard to not look at the ⏰ clock, but I think that makes it harder to get back to sleep! ☺✌
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I have found that if I get excited to have time to myself and use it to watch extended tv, I pay for it the next day with a grumpy bad outlook.
Also get frustrated when a calm mood flows over as the sun arises. It's like my body saying "the sun is up, the world is ok, you can sleep now." LOL
Also I find that a few moments after I awaken at 3 a.m. it's my stomach screaming about being empty. I simply can not sleep if I am hungry, in spite of so much advise to not eat after dinner.
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So true! I must have a piece of cheese or a scoop of peanut butter before bed, or I wake up feeling anxious during the night from hunger.😀
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I've learned that most of our digestion occurs during rest and sleep. I've noticed that when I have trouble sleeping, or interrupted sleep, my tummy feels like it's having a workout. Since stomach acid usually decreases with age, I sleep better when I take a hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplement with or after my last meal. It also helps me when I eat my heavier meals in the morning or late afternoon, and eat lightly toward the end of the day. I try to finish eating by 5 or 6 PM. That seems to help.
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That's interesting☺. So many different good ideas to try!✌
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I am a lifelong insomniac, maybe due to a head injury when I was a child. For 10 years I required Ambien every night in order to sleep, tried many times to kick that habit until finally I did through force of will and a friend who was a good listener and let me just yatter about my insomnia for a while. I slept well with no pharmaceutical assistance for two years, then the stress of this year set me back again.

Now I am finding that a hit of good quality pot is enough to put me to sleep quickly, and a few capsules of Valerian, cheap and easy to find over the counter, keeps me asleep all night. Medical cannabis is now legal in 33 U.S. states. I don't know where you live but if you can access some, look for a strain of Indica...that's the sleepy one :)

Peace and hugs to you as I know this is such a hard struggle!
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Thanks so much☺. I've had anxiety for decades, so maybe I could ask the Dr about that☺.
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I read this in the AARP magazine once, and it works for me. Think of a word (preferably a long one) that begins with each letter of the alphabet, but begin with Z and go backwards. Sometimes I try to think of only vowels, or cities in the world.... whatever I can come up with. It's a tedious process and certainly allows my mind to focus on something besides worries... and it works for me! I usually never get as far as A before I fall to sleep (or back to sleep). I also practice breathing deep and slow while coming up with words.
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☺That sounds like a good brain exercise that would probably help me with stress induced forgetfulness also! Thanks✌🙋
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Our ancestors lived with no light but a fire. The long nights of winter were too long and they would wake up in the dark for an hour or two, tell stories, replenish the fire (probably also have sex while the kids were asleep). Realizing that waking up is natural may help you. If you're old enough to be retired AND not having to care for someone, this can be a great time to get the mail sorted and filed or some other task you have been putting off... then return to sleep after two hours with a sense of accomplishment. You have to find your own solution that works with your life style. So sorry if you have to get up early to get to work or school. (Note: A sleep specialist can change your life because some people are waking up due to a breathing issue that can be corrected. One cue to this: do you snore? If you do, get the test; the test is weird but it works and can change your life.)
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I'm not sure if I snore, cuz my husband used to snore so loudly that it's all I could hear! 😬 He never told me that I snored though, so probably not.☺
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My dad takes Melatonin and that has helped him. For myself - I'm 61 and have been back at the gym for 10 years. Working out used to amp me up and all it does now is tire me out. No problems sleeping here.
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Yeah, I think I'm going to find an exercise routine that fits me, cuz I'm getting out of shape for sure. Sucks.
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Even our cats wanted to go out at 330-4 and would wake us up.
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That's funny😀, I had no idea about cats doing that.
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You might check with other neighbors. It may be something in your neighborhood.
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?don't understand.
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Yes, that is a drag waking up so early. I don't know why that happens, could be physical or mental. Maybe you can get a prescription for some kind of antidepressant. Or maybe ativan might help when you can't sleep. Just .05mg.
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If my Dr would give me ativan, I would try it, cuz lexapro was 👎 terrible for me. I'm really struggling to just function lately. Thanks for the tip☺
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